Drug Detection Times
Screening Panels
DOT Testing
Medical/Recreational Marijuana

Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  Why drug test?

A:  Drug abuse in the workplace puts employers at a risk for increased accidents, more absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher insurance costs. Urine testing, like all drug testing methodologies, helps to mitigate these risks by filtering out drug users from an employer’s workforce as well as deterring drug use within it.

Q:  What sets Secure Testing Services apart for lab-based urine drug testing?

A:  Secure Testing Services offers reliable employee drug screening, an extensive national collection site network, and personal service and support. Each Secure Testing Services drug testing laboratory participates in rigorous laboratory proficiency testing to maintain the highest levels of Six Sigma quality. We have established a reputation as an industry leader in workplace drug testing and test millions of urine specimens for drugs of abuse every year. We will help you select the best drug test and timing to optimize your drug testing program’s success. 

Q:  Why is urine testing the most frequently used method for drug testing?

A:  Businesses drug test their applicants and employees to minimize their exposure to the risks of workforce drug use. While all drug test specimen types – urine, oral fluid and hair – have their advantages, urine drug testing is by far the most flexible and customizable. With hundreds of different combinations of illicit and other commonly abused drugs, order codes and cutoff levels, there’s a urine drug test panel for almost any testing reason.

Q:  What drug testing situations are best suited to a lab-based, urine test?

A:  Urine testing is an ideal solution for every testing reason including pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty and follow-up testing. Businesses rely on laboratory-based urine testing for its cost-effectiveness, capacity to screen for a wide variety of drug substances, both illicit and prescribed (i.e., prescription drugs, for which their use or misuse could impact workplace safety).

Q:  What drugs are detected with a urine test?

A:  Secure Testing Services tests for the following drugs: amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy) and its metabolite, methadone, opiates, oxycodone, phencyclidine (PCP) and propoxyphene, synthetic cannabinoids (“K2/Spice”) and synthetic stimulants (“Bath Salts”). Additionally, we offer specialized panels such as Medical Professional Panels for a broad range of prescription drugs more accessible in the healthcare industry and a steroids panel to detect performance enhancing drugs and anabolic steroid use.

Q:  What is the detection window for a lab-based, urine drug test?

A:  Urine drug testing typically detects recent drug use in the previous 24 to 72 hours.

Q:  What is the standard turnaround time for a lab-based urine test?

A:  Urine drug test specimens go through a two-tiered testing process at the laboratory. The initial screening is performed on one portion of the specimen and is designed to rapidly differentiate negative specimens from those that need additional testing, on a different portion of the specimen, to confirm the outcome. Negative screening results are often released within 24 hours and non-negative screens are typically released within an additional 24 to 72 hours.

Q:  Can a urine drug test be beaten or adulterated?

A:  While it is the most common drug testing method, urine testing is not foolproof. With our specimen validity testing, we can help ensure the integrity of the test by measuring pH, creatinine and specific gravity (when indicated) and testing for adulterants that may be added to the urine specimen. The most common adulterants screened include oxidizing agents – such as, nitrites, chromates and halogens (e.g., bleach and iodine). Secure Testing Services is one of the few laboratories to offer oxidant identification for some of the most common oxidizing adulterants. All “invalid results” are automatically tested twice to ensure accuracy. We also offer oxidizing adulterant identification if requested by the customer or Medical Review Officer.

Q:  How is a urine drug test collected?

A:  Urine drug testing requires a minimum of 30 mL of urine (45 mL for a U.S. Department of Transportation collection) collected in the privacy of a restroom. The collector pours the specimen into a bottle that is sealed with tamper-evident tape. The specimen and completed Custody and Control Form (CCF) are sent to the laboratory for testing. Quest Diagnostics collection sites maintain an on-site inventory of urine testing supplies so your donors simply need to show up with their documentation and provide their specimen.

Q:  What training does a Secure Testing Services collector receive prior to performing a urine drug test collection?

A:  We hold our collection sites to the highest standards of quality and professionalism. We follow Department of Transportation (DOT) collector training protocols that include qualification training (e.g., instructional videos online collection training, and tests) as well as “mock” collections designed to ensure proper training. In addition, we validate that sites follow the standard protocols by performing audits and conducting anonymous “mystery shopper” programs. If an issue is discovered, we recommend options for immediate correction.

Q:  Where do I send a donor for a urine drug test?

A:  Secure Testing Services provides access to a nationwide network of drug test collection sites, including company-owned and operated centers and preferred third-party locations. Typically, a location is conveniently located nearby.

Q:  Do you offer an emergency urine drug test?

A:  Yes. Our nationwide network of collectors provides around the clock access to emergency drug collections for post-accident or reasonable cause. With a nationwide network of dispatch offices, we’re there with an average response and collection time of less than two hours.

Q:  Do you offer on-site urine drug tests for events such as a job fair?

A:  Yes. Performing collections at your place of business or job site offers benefits including simplified logistics and the convenience of not having to coordinate the collection process. Through our mobile, on-site collection service, we make it easier for you and your employees to provide specimens for testing. Another option for testing is our instant urine test with speed that helps to hire candidates quickly. It detects up to 11 commonly-abused drugs.

Q:  Is a urine drug test approved for Department of Transportation testing?

A:  Yes, urine testing is the only drug test type approved for federally-mandated drug testing. To follow standardized procedures established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the DOT, urine test results are evaluated by a Medical Review Officer after the urine specimens have been tested for five classes of drugs (amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates and phencyclidine) in a SAMHSA-certified laboratory. The DOT’s rule 49 CFR Part 40 describes required collection procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing for the federally regulated transportation industry.

Q:  Will a urine drug test stand up in court?

A:  Secure Testing Services has been performing urine testing for drugs of abuse for many years, with tens of thousands of tests collected. From the beginning, we have stood behind every drug test result reported by our laboratory. Our results have successfully withstood legal challenges in workplace testing, military proceedings and other civil jurisdictions. Our proven track record of success supports the fact that we provide reliable, accurate urine drug testing results that you can depend on.

Q:  What testing methodology is used?

A:  For most urine drug tests, the initial screen is performed using Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) methodology. EIA involves a binding reaction between the target drug and/or drug metabolite and an antibody producing a signal that is detected by automated instruments indicating whether the target compound might be present in the specimen. This technology provides fast, efficient separation of negative specimens from those that require further testing. Confirmatory drug tests for the non-negative specimens are performed with Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) or Liquid Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) methodology. These instruments are capable of specifically identifying and distinguishing the drug or drug metabolite from other compounds that might be present in the specimen. At the same time, they can accurately measure the concentration of the target compound.

Q:  What certifications does Secure Testing Services maintain?

A:  Our laboratory certifications and accreditations include SAMHSA (urine), CAP-FDT (hair, oral fluid, and urine), as applicable for the specific testing menu and customer base for each lab. When you work with Secure Testing Services, you are partnering with a drug testing leader.

Q:  How are the results reported?

A:  As with all laboratory-based drug testing, test results are logged into the laboratory information system and reported to the customer or Medical Review Officer by a direct interface, web reporting, confidential fax, printer or voice response.

Q:  How long are urine drug test specimens maintained?

A:  Laboratory test results and records are maintained for a minimum of two (2) years. Note: Specimens that test negative are destroyed after 5 days, while specimens that test positive are maintained in frozen storage for a minimum of 1 year.

Q:  How much does a lab-based urine drug test cost?

A:  The cost of the urine drug test will vary based upon volume and the number of drug panels selected. Please contact Secure Testing Services for a detailed cost quote. 

Drug Detection Times 


Also known as: speed
Pharmaceutical names:Dexedrine, Benzedrine  
Time: 1-2 Days

Also known as: speed, ice, crystal, and crank.
Pharmaceutical names: Desoxyn, Methedrine
Time: 1-2 Days

MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).
Also known as: ecstasy, XTC, ADAM, lover's speed
Time: 1-2 Days

Also known as: coke, crank, rock cocaine 
Time: 2-4 Days


Also known as: dope, weed, hemp, hash, Colombian, Sinsemilla
Pharmaceutical name: Marinol     
Time: 1-2 Months

Also known as PCP, angel dust
Time: 14-30 Days


Time: 2-Days

Morphine and/or Heroin
Also known as: smack, tar, chasing the tiger 
Pharmaceutical names: Duramorph, Roxanol
Times: 2-Days

Also known as: fizzies 
Pharmaceutical names: Armidone, Dolophine
Times: 3-Days

Pharmaceutical names: Darvon, Darvocet, Novopropoxyn
Times: 6-Hours – 2-Days


Also known as: downers, barbs, goofballs, red, yellow jackets
Pharmaceutical names: Amobarbital (Amytal), Butalbital (Fiorinal), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Phenobarbital (Donnatal), Secobarbital (Seconal)
Times: Short acting: 2-Days, Long Acting: 1-3 Weeks

Also known as: bennies
Pharmaceutical names: Diazepam (Valium), Oxazepam (Serax), Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Alprazolam (Xanax), Chlorazepate (Tranxene), Temazepam (Restoril)
Times: Therapeutic Dose: 2-Days, Chronic Use/Abuse: 4-6 Weeks

Ethyl Alcohol
Also known as: liquor, distilled spirits, beer, wine, booze, hooch
Pharmaceutical names: Ethanol
Times: 1-12 Hours

Screening Panels

Amphetamines (Methamphetamines - 'Meth')
Cocaine Metabolites
Marijuana Metabolites
Opiates Incudes: Morphine, Codeine, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone
Phencyclidine (PCP - 'Angel Dust')

Amphetamines (Methamphetamines - 'Meth')
Cocaine Metabolites
Marijuana Metabolites
Opiates Incudes: Morphine, Codeine, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone
Phencyclidine (PCP - 'Angel Dust')

Amphetamines (Methamphetamines - 'Meth')
Cocaine Metabolites
Marijuana Metabolites
Opiates Incudes: Morphine, Codeine, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone
Phencyclidine (PCP - 'Angel Dust')

Amphetamines (Methamphetamines - 'Meth')
Cocaine Metabolites
Marijuana Metabolites
Opiates Incudes: Morphine, Codeine, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone

DOT Drug Testing

After January 1, 2018 – Still a 5-Panel

The DOT testing at HHS-certified laboratories is a 5-panel drug test regimen. As of January 1, 2018, the ‘Opiates’ category was renamed ‘Opioids’:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Under ‘Opioids’, previously ‘Opiates’, DOT testing will continue to include confirmatory testing, when appropriate, for Codeine, Morphine, and 6-AM (heroin). We added initial and confirmatory testing for the semi-synthetic opioids Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone to this Opioids group. Some brand names for the semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®. Under Amphetamines, DOT testing includes confirmatory testing, when appropriate, for Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, and MDA. To this Amphetamines group, we added initial testing for MDA and removed testing for MDEA. Since January 1st, we have required confirmation testing for 14 drugs under a 5-panel test. Broken out, here is what DOT drug testing looks like:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana (THC)
    1. Amphetamine
    2. Methamphetamine
    3. MDMA
    4. MDA
  • Opioids
    1. Codeine
    2. Morphine
    3. 6-AM (heroin)
    4. Hydrocodone
    5. Hydromorphone
    6. Oxycodone
    7. Oxymorphone
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

For DOT testing, what does this mean for collectors, laboratories, MROs, and employers after January 1st, 2018?

  • Collectors will continue to check the 5-panel box in Step 1 of the CCF: That is, the box specified for “THC, COC, PCP, OPI, AMP.”
  • Laboratories will:
    • Continue to report to MROs the specific drugs / drug metabolites they confirm as positive, and laboratories will add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone confirmed positives, as appropriate. 
    • on their semi-annual reports to DOT and their semi-annual reports to employers add: hydrocodone; hydromorphone; oxycodone; and oxymorphone confirmed positive totals, as appropriate, under Opioids. 
  • MROs will continue to report to employers the specific drugs / drug metabolite they verify as positive; and MROs will add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone verified positives, as appropriate.
  • Employers will continue to provide – on their annual MIS reports – the number of verified positive drug test results in each testing category (i.e., Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opioids, and PCP).

Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2018

STS Policy on Medical & Recreational Marijuana

Definition of Medical & Recreational Marijuana: cannabis (also referred to as marijuana) refers to the use of Cannabis (marijuana), including constituents of cannabis, THC and other cannabinoids, as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy as well as the commercial sale and consumption (via smoking, eating, or drinking).

There are several states that have either decriminalized prescription writing and/or possession of marijuana if tied to medical and recreational use. However, the Federal Government (Drug Enforcement Agency – DEA) still classifies marijuana as a schedule I illegal substance;
see link:


Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulated Programs

Organizations regulated by the DOT must comply with Federal Law. Medical marijuana is addressed in the Code of Federal Regulations: 49 CFR Part 40.151

"What are MROs prohibited from doing as part of the verification process? As an MRO, you are prohibited from doing the following as part of the verification process: (e) You must not verify a test negative based on information that a physician recommended that the employee use a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. (e.g., under the state law that purports to authorize such recommendations, such as the “medical marijuana” laws that some states have adopted.) "

A positive result, whether medical, recreational marijuana or other, is treated the same as any other. The full statements issued by DOT can be found here:

https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/medical-marijuana-notice https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/dot-recreational-marijuana-notice

Non-DOT Programs

STS will continue to report a positive marijuana result as positive, even if a valid authorization exists. In order to give companies who wish to recognize the state law the information to do so, STS will verify the authorization and add "Authorization for medical and recreational marijuana verified" in the comment area of the drug test result. Consult your state laws for restrictions and/or requirements to ensure you update your organization's drug test policy to reflect your medical marijuana policy.

If your company’s policy accepts marijuana as a valid, medical explanation and would like those results to appear differently, please contact us directly.